Voters Guide: How and When to Vote in the Feb. 23 Special Election for City Council District 31


The borough is barely coming up for air after the City Council District 24 special election earlier this week and already it’s time to think about the next race –– the special election for City Council District 31.

Voters in District 31, which encompasses Arverne, Brookville, Edgemere, Far Rockaway, Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens, are set to vote over the next few weeks on who will serve out the rest of former city councilmember and now Queens Borough President Donovan Richards’ term on the New York City Council. 

Nine candidates are vying for the seat which became vacant in December when Richards became the Queens Borough President –– Nancy J. Martinez, Selvena N. Brooks-Powers, LaToya R. Benjamin, Latanya Collins, Sherwyn A. James, Nicole S. Lee, Pesach Osina, Shawn Rux, and Manuel Silva.  

The election will be the city’s second using ranked choice voting after the city first tried it out earlier this month in the special election for City Council District 24 to replace former City Councilmember Rory Lancman. 

Voters will rank their top five candidates in order of preference. The first choice votes will then be tallied and if no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, there will be a runoff. The candidate who received the least amount of first choice votes will be eliminated. And the second choice candidate on the ballots with the eliminated first choice candidate will then be counted. This will continue until one candidate has more than half of the votes. 

If this happens in the upcoming special, it will be the first ranked choice voting run off in the city. There was no runoff in the recent special election because according to the preliminary results, candidate James Gennaro won nearly 60% of the vote in the first round. 

Registered voters in District 31 can vote in this election by mail with an absentee ballot or in person during early voting or on election day. 

Absentee ballots must be requested before Tuesday, February 16 but the New York City Board of Elections (BOE) recommends getting requests in as soon as possible. Applications must be postmarked by February 16. Voters can also request absentee ballots in person up until Monday, February 22 at a BOE office. Click here for more information on voting by mail with an absentee ballot and find the absentee ballot application online here

Early voting begins on Saturday, February 13 and goes until Sunday, February 21. Polling sites for early voting are different than on election day. To look up early voting sites, use the city’s poll finder website. 

And, if you love going to the polls on election day, hold tight until Tuesday, February 23 when you can vote in person at your poll site. To look up election sites, use the city’s poll finder website. 

Check out the BOE’s voter guide for more information.